False claim that Muslims objected to St. George’s Flag in Britain

False claim that Muslims objected to St. George’s Flag in Britain

by Sheila Musaji

(Photo source Engage UK

The Islamophobes and particularly the EDL have been busy the past week.  There was the False claim that a pregnant woman was arrested for carrying a British flag after Muslims complained and there was the False EDL Rumor that Muslims in Oldham had held ‘Celebrations’ of the Woolwich murder.  And now we have this false claim about St. George’s Flag about which the EDL protested.

A story was reported by a number of media outlets.  The Telegraph reported Council vetoes flag of St George after concerns raised about links to Crusades:

Eleanor Jackson, a university lecturer, said the red and white symbol could cause upset in Radstock, Somerset, because it was used during the Crusades 1,000 years ago.

The Labour councillor voiced her concerns at a meeting called to discuss which flag should be purchased to fly atop the town’s repaired civic flagpole.  She said: “My big problem is that it is offensive to some Muslims, but even more so that it has been hijacked by the far right.  My thoughts are we ought to drop it for 20 years.”

Radstock Town Council, which serves a local population of more than 5,600 residents, eventually decided to purchase a Union flag to fly on Armistice Day.

...  The objections raised about the flag of St George were branded “oversensitive” by the local Muslim community while the Muslim Council of Britain said England’s patron saint should not be associated with “any hatred of Muslims”.  Spokeswoman Nasima Begum said: “St George needs to take his rightful place as a national symbol of inclusivity rather than a symbol of hatred.”

Rizwan Ahmed, spokesman for the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society said: “I think they are going a bit far here. It is political correctness going a bit too far.  Use by the far right is one thing, but to say that Muslims are offended I don’t think is correct. We understand the flag is part of this country’s heritage, and in fact many many Muslims will identify as being British themselves.” ...

After this story was reported, Engage UK notes There was an EDL protest in Radstock over St George’s flag ‘offending Muslims’ story:

Despite the leader of the Council scotching the false reports, ITV News notes that protestors ‘from as far away as Newcastle’ travelled to the town in Somerset to protest the council’s ‘decision’.

The incident, much like false newspaper reports of town councils ‘banning Christmas’ for fear of ‘offending Muslims’, shows the terrible consequences of poor press reporting on popular perceptions of Muslims as well as the the far right’s exploitation of manufactured grievances.

Of course, Islamophobic sites like Vlad TepesSheik Yer’Mami, etc. added their own take on the original incorrect story   They made statements like:  “A more accurate title would have been: ‘Council votes to remove actual flag of England because of potential objections by a mere 16 muslim residents of the town”, and Sheik Yer’Mami called it “preemptive dhimmitude”

Muslims were not consulted.  Muslims did not object.  All of this is nonsense.  In fact,  as the Bristol Post reported

Farooq Siddique, who writes a column for the Bristol Post about life as a Muslim in the city, is like many in the Muslim community, baffled by the decision by Radstock Town Council not to fly the flag of St George in case it offends followers of Islam.  Here he gives his personal reaction to the Post:

“So, the flag of St George will not be flying over Radstock after Councillors decided it was “inappropriate”; one of the factors being its historic links with the Crusades primarily against the Muslim world.

“It’s another example of the road to hell being paved with good intentions. Like changing ‘Merry Christmas’ to ‘Season’s greetings’, or ‘Christmas lights’ to ‘winter lights’ or taking the ‘pork factor’ out of the ‘Three little pigs’ story, all the ‘huffing and puffing’ to avoid offending ‘other religious communities’ – a euphemism now almost exclusively recognised as a reference to ‘Muslim’ communities.

“I write this wanting to climb Cabot Tower; desperate to shout this from the highest peaks; “Muslims are not offended by the St George’s flag! The Three Little Pigs! Or Christmas! Or any other variation thereof!” (OK, I admit; as a slogan, it needs work…)

“Short-sighted good intentions can add fuel to the fire of prejudice.

“Removing the flag of St George from flying over Radstock will be portrayed by the hate-mongers (the very people the councillors intended to quell) as another example of the ‘conspiracy by Muslims to ’Islamicise’ the world’ – even though no Muslims took part in the making of this particular fiasco.

“The right wing will cry foul, and more St Georges flags will fly in support, sadly, of the right-wing.

“Symbols (and their propensity to cause offence) are defined by the context in which they are used. For example: the swastika is offensive as a Nazi symbol, but inherent as a symbol of peace in the Hindu faith.

“Likewise, right-wing groups like the EDL use the Crusader past of the St Georges flag as their symbol during demonstrations against Mosques. But, it is inherently the symbol of the English nation.

“Rather than abandon the St Georges flag to the right-wing extremists and racists, I’d ask the Radstock Councillors to reconsider and fight for it: reclaim it as the symbol for our “green and pleasant land”.

“The more people use it as symbol for peace and unity, the less people will tolerate its use as a symbol of hate and persecution.

“Together, we really can vanquish the fire-breathing dragon of prejudice.”


Leading Bristol Muslim condemns plans to not fly St George flag in Radstock http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Leading-Bristol-Muslim-condemns-plans-fly-St/story-19005228-detail/story.html

A gift for the EDL http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/468249/20130516/edl-george-flag-patriotism.htm

Stance on St George offends all patriots, especially Muslims

And, This Somerset reported that:  “The folly of Radstock Town Council in refusing to fly St George’s flag is not in its attention-seeking political correctness but in its offence to Muslims. It is a reversion to the view that people of different religions cannot be patriotic, one from which Catholics suffered for many centuries.”

This all reminds me of the Catholic University incident here in the U.S. last year.  In that case, a non-Muslim attorney filed a lawsuit saying that Muslim students at the University were offended by crosses and other religious symbols and they should be removed.  The whole thing was a product of his own imagination, and not only had not a single Muslim student complained in any way, but they came forward to say they had no problem with these symbols and loved the University.

There was a lovely and “very British” ending to this story.  The EDL turned out for a protest in front of the York Mosque but, as The Guardian reports York mosque counters EDL protest with tea, biscuits and football

A York mosque dealt with a potentially volatile situation after reports that it was going to be the focus of a demonstration organised by a far-right street protest movement - by inviting those taking part in the protest in for tea and biscuits.

Around half a dozen people arrived for the protest, promoted online by supporters of the EDL. A St George’s flag was nailed to the wooden fence in front of the mosque.

However, after members of the group accepted an invitation into the mosque, tensions were rapidly defused over tea and plates of custard creams, followed by an impromptu game of football.

Leanne Staven, who had come for the protest, said that she had not come to the mosque to cause trouble but because “We need a voice”. “I think white British who have any concerns feel we can’t speak freely,” she said.

“Change has been coming for a long time and in light of what happened to that soldier in Woolwich there have to be restrictions on people learning extremist behaviour and it has to stop.”

Mohammed el-Gomati, a lecturer at the University of York, said: “There is the possibility of having dialogue. Even the EDL who were having a shouting match started talking and we found out that we share and are prepared to agree that violent extremism is wrong.

“We have to start there. Who knows, perhaps the EDL will invite us to an event and the Muslim community will be generous in accepting that invitation?”

Ismail Miah, president of York mosque, added: “Under the banner of Islam there are very different politics: democratic politics, the far right, left, central, all over. You can’t target a whole community for what one or two people have done.

“What they’ve done in London is for their own reasons but there’s no reasoning behind it from an Islamic point of view.”

This is how civilized people function.

Source of photo Reading University flier

so similar to catholic university incident